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IM: A Poor Fit For The Enterprise?

In the get-it-done-yesterday world we live and work in, instant messaging may sound like the perfect enterprise communications tool. After all, speed rules these days. Yet in spite of an enterprise push by the biggest IM platform providers, a lot companies are resisting the urge to dive in head first into deploying instant messaging as a corporate application.The most obvious reason for the hesitation is the very real security concern. As popular as instant messaging is as a consumer application, it has also proving to be popular with hackers who use it to transport viruses. Businesses are also mindful that the casual nature of IM may encourage employees to impulsively distribute confidential corporate information to people outside the company.

Some IT administrators say the real reason they aren't jumping on the IT bandwagon isn't security-related at all. Instead, a vocal contingent of systems administrators say their simply is no real driving need in their organizations for a corporate-wide IM application. Some who have deployed enterprise IM versions say end users found the packages difficult to use.

Personally, I am not the world's biggest IM fan however, for some purposes it can be an ideal application. For example, it can be a nice departmental communications tool. I would bet whether an organization sanctions IM as an enterprise tool, it is probably being widely used on a departmental or location basis.

Does your company have an official policy about IM use? If not, there is no time like the present to establish one.